Tag Archive | family

Unwanted Inheritance

This was sitting in my drafts that I wrote 6 months back and never got around to complete and publish it.

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I just read an article about offsprings are declining the “unwanted stuff offered” collected by baby boomers.

Read the article here.

I suffer from “de-cluttering” syndrome.  America is driven by consumerism. Growing up, I have had very few dresses and and we were never trained to hold onto stuff. My mom gave away all our stuff regularly, either to cousins, neighbors or maids or even to exchange clothes with something useful – mostly new kitchen utensils. And my mother was so good at taking care of things, even the oldest possible thing is in great condition. We still have those bamboo stick chairs in mint condition. They condition it every year and they are so comfortable to sit in. I was never interested in buying things and my mother along with her sisters would shop for me that I would be happy to wear them without any complains.

The day I knew that I will be travelling to america, I went on a shopping spree and got quite a number of clothes that would have lasted life time, if only I stayed that slim and “not cared about current fashion trend”. The real pain started after I got my first pay check – the shopping started there and it has never really ended (I try hard to not shop). American market is all about consumerism. Sale every where, the favorite past time is spending time in malls and drinking that expensive starbucks and caribou coffee. That is the trend back then among my peers and cousins.

I digress,  recently I went to a baby shower party, there were all generations of people. During the gift-opening-ceremony (and people going “awwww…” over every gift opened – entitles for another post), I ended up striking a conversation with a person of my previous generation about how nice to have some things inherited, especially the kids stuff from sibling or a cousin with older kids. The lady tried to pass on some of the home & kitchen furniture to her kids. Her kids have outright refused to accept it. She says – the current generation prefers minimal things and want to lead a simpler life.

It got me thinking – really? I feel, the cost of living has gone up. Affording a huge home, ergo inheriting furniture is out of question, especially with not-so-stable-ever-moving jobs. I am not surprised why some people would decline the offer. Myself, have inherited lots of furniture from near and dear ones. Unfortunately, I had to let go when ever I  moved. So it doesn’t work for me.

How about you folks?

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Festivities Day 2- Makara Sankranthi

As I mentioned earlier, this festival is celebrated for 3 days straight. Today is called Makara Sankranthi.  For these three days, people put gobbemmalu (as described in earlier post) and farmers start harvesting the crops. This is the beginning.

I called my uncle up this evening and he mentioned they were planting rice plants across the fields. They perform pooja and pray to various gods to help them yield the crop without any obstruction. If I can, I will be visiting my Grandma’s village and my uncle’s farm tomorrow. I am so excited with that thought itself.

I digress, so today my cousins and their families came over and yet there was a tragedy to the plan of flying kites. My aunt’s dog bit her and it resulted in my cousins visiting and consoling her.  Prior to this incident, I made an awesome Pulav which was so delicious and nothing was left to have it again (And the picture is of left-overs). I hardly cook.. but when I do cook it better be great.

Vegetable Pulav

Vegetable Pulav

I have been working remotely in EST timezone and have been up until late into nights and so I failed to do rangoli this morning. Nevertheless, my mother and her crew did a fabulous job by coloring it beautifully and they have added “Ratam” (the one with wheels) & Pot (The circular one to prepare a sweet dish called Pongal) without which the rangoli for Sankranthi would not be complete. Here is the picture that I captured later.

Sankranthi Muggu and Ratam

Sankranthi Muggu and Ratam

I stepped out and found this kid being was so excited to fly the kite he was holding and there were few kites up in the sky, my phone camera could not capture that so well..

Kid with kite in his hand

Kid with kite in his hand

as always, the evening was fun with family members chatting around and having a dinner together. This goes into my memories. It makes such a difference to be with them and in their presence than speaking/skyping/whatsapping/vibering/facebooking over from long distance.

See you tomorrow with more festival fun!

Festivities of India – Sankranthi – Day 1 – Bhogi

I am finally be able to attend first ever festival in almost last 8 years. Yes, I’ve been living in united states and never been part of festivals until today. And it feels great and how I look back and miss all this fun and excitement. I feel lonely being there and how I feel content and complete being in India with family.

Instead of me telling what Sankranthi is all about, I’ll waste no time in writing about it and let you read here in wiki.

Today is the first day called – Bhogi, this is a winter season and on this day people gather to lit a fire and warm themselves up. Unfortunately, winter is like summer here.. and we decided to go against it. .. yeah I’ve been sweating graciously under the sun and got all the tan and I finally regained my original skin color. Oh.. people in India are generally obsessed with fair skin and it is their way of conveying this message to me. Be in india and you’ll become Indian :).

I digress, so we ended up making a beautiful rangoli filled with sparkling colors.. It took almost 2 hours of effort for 2 people to finish it.. and I am so glad I got this opportunity. I sooo loved doing this.

Sankranthi Muggu

Sankranthi Muggu

And later my mother ended up making “Gobemmalu”, made out of cow dung, decorated with “turmeric” and “red kumkum”, flowers, sprinkled 9 -different types of various grains and seasonal fruits onto them. I used to make them as a kid by myself and now I must have become too lazy to do that.

Here is the closest view

Gobbemmalu

Gobbemmalu

My mother made some mixed vegetable curry as per tradition, a dessert, and some south indian snacks that were so delicious. The day also was good with my brother making it for this event and we were all together spending time as a family… a feel wonderful factor. And then my mother took me off to a priest who was performing a goddess Godha Devi’s wedding event. It was heart-filling and amazing. I felt so good after attending it. It has been such a long ago that I’ve attended something like this. The sounds of mantra’s that they chant were so divine and gives you some kind of peace and calmness in your life. Infact, I say just for non-religious belief try listening to “Lalitha Sahasranama” or “Lakshmi asthothara” or “Hanuman Chalisa”, you’ll really feel great after listening to it (And yes, you can find them on youtube). Not necessarily that you understand what it means but just the sounds has so much calming power that reaches your brain. They are positive vibrations and the wavelength at which they strike our brain has definite impact.

Godha Devi's wedding

Godha Devi’s wedding

And after the wedding event, the priest asked some of his followers to speak about what good has these prayers helped them. Although, they emphasized the fact of how much these prayers and spiritual rituals helped them achieve their goals.. It is hard to believe but these prayers will make you grounded towards achieving your goals. Fills your life with some purpose and brings calmness during your tough times.  So here is a small girl who is dressed up for the occasion started explaining her little journey.. which was adorable..

She spoke of her journey... aaah a 5 yr old.

She spoke of her journey… aaah a 5 yr old.

Finally, it was concluded with lunch session that was sponsored by one of their follower and what a wonderful time and a great food. How this makes it for a great memory.

Here is the final picture of the decoration they did and after wedding event of the goddess was complete.

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And a beautiful and fun time with family in the evening with so much laughter and teasing with cousins. Loved every bit of it. And how I wish I stayed back here forever :).

On that positive note.. Wish you all a very happy Sankranthi (aka Pongal). May this festival bring you all the happiness, health, wealth and success in your life.

More tomorrow.. Stay tuned!

Desi’s abroad

Life of a Desi (Courtesy: Google images)

Life of a Desi
(Courtesy: Google images)

I am an Indian staying abroad.. the term coiled to represent people like “us” as “Desi’s”.  Just like how chinese people addressed as “Chinki’s”.. No offense but that is a most common terminology to address the race.

Recently, I’ve had my parents visited me for a brief period of time and it was great to have them around. Obviously, I was busy planning their outings and had almost no time for blogging. Well yeah, a good excuse.  For every beginning there is an End, some times it ends as we would have anticipated and most of the times we detour and often the path is painful but with good ending. Again it sounds like a “Cliche” from movies, part of it could be me watching too many dramatic movies.

All said, parting does bring pain. Their visitation ended with beautiful memories and now I am left with gloomy clouds.  As much as I sounded excited while sending-them-off, only later did those clouds melted and rain poured down.. oh yes, like every other human being I cried. No matter how much hard one tries to understand the reasoning behind those tears, there is truly something about being part of family, those relationships, emotions, affection are something that keeps you grounded. Yes, we have had our share of fun times, non-forgettable-great times, hard times, dis-agreements, opinion clashes, petty jealousies, arguments and so on so forth, but no matter what I love them and I dearly miss them.

These are the times where I end up introspecting and start wondering about “What if’s” , “If only’s” etc etc and torn between thoughts of life in United States vs India.  Life is truly an adventure with “good” , “bad”, “okay”,”great”,”worst” , “not so bad” times and yet you move forward with most exciting spirit and “Hope” to reach your destination. What is destination after all? As much as I do not want to get philosophical about life purpose, aims, plans, deviations etc etc.. I try to believe destination is an ever changing target we chase through out our life and I have made peace with myself that “Change is the only Constant thing in life”.

At the end, it’s your story..and no one but you write.

One of my dearest friend always says: “We always know next few minutes ahead of what is going to happen” and yet it is challenging to be positive or hopeful all the time.  There is nothing to lose in thinking great about yourself or life in general. Don’t you think so?

Guns – a threat or a boon?

Gun

Don’t know where to start, how to start and what to speak about this mean machine called “Gun” and the damage it does to lives of innocent people. The incident of “Mass Shooting” by a young adult in Connecticut brought tears to everyone who could feel the pain of losing their own kin, it is disheartening.  There were 20 young students and 6 adults killed in this incident. Who is to blame for this tragedy?  Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims

There have been many tragedies so far in last five years, and what is government doing to avoid this. I feel no place is safe to be in, be it on streets, malls, theaters, schools, universities, temples , homes or anywhere else .  Before we recover from one incident there is another, and all the people who did it were categorized as mentally challenged. Don’t you think, acquiring license for Guns is so easy in this country? Recently, Florida acknowledged the fact that there have been 100k licenses issued to public for their safety.   Should we be proud of this or feel sorry for the irreversible damage it creates. Well, the ratio of people being killed versus people being safe is relatively less and when considered in large scale, it is probably “acceptable”, but when it comes to taking away innocent lives – there should/will be Zero Tolerance.

This incident in Newton, Connecticut, ignited gun-control debate across the nation. Dick’s sport stores have suspended selling their semi-automatic rifles or any kind of sport guns for time being to honor the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary massacre.  I can write about it, speak about it and vent out my anger and helplessness over here, but I would soon get over with it. But, it is quite un-imaginable for a family, friend, and relative, neighbor to accept and move on with life. There is always this part of them goes missing and cannot be substituted by anything else in the world. I cannot imagine the pain of a sibling, a best friend; parents for whom those kids are world to them are no more with them except for their memories.  We, as strangers can show support to them and strongly voice out our opinions to strictly restrict guns availability to public. Four of our firm employees lost their family members and our firm is raising $150k funds to support them in their tough times. I could not appreciate more. May their souls rest in peace.

So, how do we restrict guns? Learn from mistakes? All these mishaps happened in last five years have been blamed on mentally disordered people.  But, don’t you think – each one of us is mentally ill somewhere along the line? We speak about ethics, morals, conscience or anything else; you never know how our brain acts in certain situations? Too much of generalization isn’t?  Well, the fact is no one in right sense of mind would commit this kind of heinous act.  (On a side note, I would think Hitler is an example of such mind set).  The whole point is to avoid such things happening in the future.

To conclude – what measures could we take to not repeat this act in the future?  Do you have any suggestions/ideas?

Diwali Celebrations are on…

Diwali (or Deepavali) is festival widely celebrated in India. There is a reason and story behind every festival, like wise there is one for this too. Instead of me writing about it, I’ll point you to one of the blog that I follow for you to know more about it. (Click here for the story). This festival is a celebration of triumph of good over evil.

Traveling back in time to one of my most beautiful memory lane, as part of the preparations for this festival.. we would have to prepare the list of fire crackers and hand over it to my dad. He would then take us to store near by and get us all we want, that would be sufficient for 3 days. And at home, there will be intensive house cleaning activities go on, painting the home, cleaning, washing, re-organizing and throwing away unwanted items..and so on so forth.

On the day of Diwali, the corridor’s are decorated with Mango leaves

Mango Leaves on Doors

Prayer to Goddess Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth) is performed at home and at respective business locations

Goddess Lakshmi

Sweets

Sweets are distributed amongst neighbors, friends and families. This is the most fun part,  by the end of the day you would have so many sweet boxes lying around and a difficult time for parents to stop their kids from eating all the unhealthy food in the world. Yes, just like candy’s that kids collect during Halloween festival.

 

 

 

 

 

Then shopping for fire-crackers

Fire-Crackers shopping

as the day begins to get darker, you’ll get to see all the lights in the sky, loud sounds, people decorating their surroundings with candle lights (called as Diya’s) , the diya’s that we use are usually made out of mud, the oil is poured into those small-little containers and a cotton made like a thickest thread is inserted into it, then they are lighted with match stick.

Diya’s in mud containers

These are now placed around the home

Diya’s placed around the home

These Diya’s are used to fire the crackers.  Fun starts from the morning! This produces so much of noise pollution and it is hard to get away with it unless you have sound-proof homes. Unfortunately, if one is not very careful about these things, this is the time where one could burn themselves and burn places as well.

Biggest Ladi – fun starts from the morning

and then in the evening, people gather at one place and start playing with fire crackers until late in the mid-night. It is such a wonderful experience to participate in the event without being worried about harm that it could cause you.

Pool Chadi – kids usually love them

and other not-so-dangerous fire crackers (I really enjoy all these things and here I am in different country missing the fun)

Chichu Buddi

Bhoo-Chakra’s

There have been instances where my hands, sometimes legs were burnt because of being careless about it. It would take many days to recover from those injuries and yet, we look forward for this festival with the same levelof enthusiasm.

and these go on until mid night or at times almost until morning, this not only creates noise pollution but also air pollution. Here is the mess that you see on every street and home, the more you burn the more trash it accumulates.

Mess after Diwali day

A great festival, that used to be my day on Diwali and now, it’s different – all we do is host or attend a Diwali event, at the max we would burn the “pool chadi”  the one you hold in your hands and burn. If you truly want to enjoy Diwali, you have got to make a trip to India. There could never be any better place than India to celebrate this festival.

This is a picture of India from NASA on a Diwali Day. This how big it is celebrated.

India on Diwali Night

With this the celebration comes to end!

To all my dear readers of this blog: Wishing you a fabulous Diwali. Wish this festival bring you happiness, wealth and success your way.

P.S: My memories still fresh from my childhood. Hope to celebrate this day again in the future with the same excitement and enthusiasm.